Man faces jail after bigamy confession

AN ESSEX father-of-seven who married a woman without divorcing his first wife was yesterday warned he could face jail after he pleaded guilty to bigamy.

By Roddy Ashworth

AN ESSEX father-of-seven who married a woman without divorcing his first wife was yesterday warned he could face jail after he pleaded guilty to bigamy.

Richard Parnell, from Grove Avenue in Walton on the Naze, still lived part time with each of his partners, Colchester magistrates heard.

Prosecution lawyer Christian Meikle said that Parnell had married Linda Scholz on January 27, 1968, at Braintree Register Office.


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But on November 20, 1996, he married Jacqueline Parnell at Colchester Register Office.

Parnell, 60, fathered four adult children from his first marriage and three from his second – the latter all still under seven years of age.

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The court heard that Parnell had telephoned Linda at work on May 23 and confessed he had married another woman eight years ago.

He told her he had been pushed into the marriage by Jacqueline because he wanted to "stop the arguments".

News of the bigamy came "completely out of the blue" to his first wife, Mr Meikle said, as she had known nothing of the second marriage.

She was shocked, upset and couldn't believe what he had done, the court heard.

After his arrest, Parnell admitted the offence during interview. Jacqueline was under mental stress when he married her, and he had done so to alleviate her feeling of insecurity.

The court heard that Jacqueline had been suffering from depression at the time, and although she knew Parnell was still seeing Linda she thought he was divorced.

Defending Parnell, James Baird Murray said: "There is a lot to be said in mitigation, but not today."

Addressing Parnell, the chairman of magistrates said: "We have noted your guilty plea and taken consideration of what the prosecution has said.

"What we are going to do is adjourn this matter for pre-sentence reports, which will be prepared by the probation service.

"This offence is so serious, imprisonment has to be considered. It could be up to six months."

He was released on unconditional bail and will appear before Colchester magistrates again on June 20.

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